Sgt Hulka says: It Only Hurts When You Laugh
"I'm gonna go out on a limb here. I'm gonna volunteer my leadership to this platoon. An army without leaders is like a foot without a big toe. And Sergeant Hulka isn't always gonna be here to be that big toe for us. I think that we owe a big round of applause to our newest, bestest buddy, and big toe... Sergeant Hulka." (Cub fan, Bill Murray as John Winger, Stripes. 1981)
This team needs a kick in the pants. Unfortunately, it won't be Ryan Dempster to administer the sorely needed swift one. It's hard to do that when your foot hurts because you acted like a knucklehead tripping over a dugout fence and injuring your big toe. Accidents happen. Anyone with a broken toe knows how painful it is. Typically, they don't need an orthopod to treat this injury and the pain usually subsides in 1-3 weeks depending on how bad the toenail injury is. Of course, running and pitching may be a problem if swelling, which can persists for months, leads to problems wearing shoes. I just hope it doesn't lead to ruining his pitching mechanics and the ever dreaded career altering sore shoulder.
I can't recall an exact comparable injury but I did remember when Sammy Sosa had an infected right big toe nail and had the nail removed surgically back in 2003. He was on the DL from May 10th to May 30th (essentially 3 weeks). Unfortunately it's a little harder to assess how Sammy did upon his return because his corked bat episode happened 4 days later leading to an 8 game suspension.
It was quite the media feeding frenzy when the Dempster news broke. Here's how he 'splained the accident:
Sunday after the game, I was coming out of the dugout and I was stepping over the top of the railing and I caught my left foot on the rail as I was coming over," Dempster said. "It spun me around and slammed me into the ground. When I did it, I thought I ripped my nail back on my foot. Unfortunately, the result wasn't funny."
Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee was laughing when he saw Dempster's awkward fall.
"I'm sure it looked hysterical from his angle," Dempster said. "The unfortunate part is my foot, because of the way it hit, came down straight into the ground. My toenail was ripped back and bleeding."
The team knew the toe was injured (click this link only if you're not squeemish) but as of tuesday morning Dempster thought his ouchie would just need something to numb it so he could pitch but (as a good trainer should) they took an X-Ray which showed a hairline fracture. So tuesday became another day of roster scramble including making sure Carlos Zambrano was OK with pitching on 3 days rest.
When asked about an estimate of how long the injury should take to recover, manager Lou Piniella quoted his head trainer, Mark O'Neal who apparently told the skipper 3-4 weeks. Seems about right to me.
As a sidebar, according to WSCR's field reporter David Schuster, after the Dempster news the media bunch all went out to the dugout to reinact Demp's crime, CSI style. As Schuster tells, Tribune reporter Paul Sullivan was the media's fall guy and almost killed himself... but the entourage now believes that one could break something falling over the dugout fence. Ah, for a photo of Sully falling on his noggin in front of the dugout.
Geovanny Soto's ribcage injury while taking batting practice earlier today caused him to be pulled from the lineup and is being evaluated with an MRI. The muscles involved are called internal/external obliques which attach around the lower rib cage. It's an area in the body that isn't helped by much except for supportive treatment (mostly rest) and can take anything from a few days off up to a month. Cardinal all-everything Albert Pujols had an oblique injury leading to a DL stint in June 06. He was out from June 3rd to June 23rd (3 weeks).
Oddly enough, Ryan Dempster was on the 15 day DL with an oblique strain on June 26th, 2007. Rembering that Dempster was the team's closer in 2007, he was out of action from June 23rd until returning on July 21st (4 weeks).
As to planning for a Soto absence, I'll dredge up a recollection of the post Michael Barrett era. The Cubs went most of the summer of 2007 with the catching tandem of Koyie Hill and Rob Bowen. They did a nice job of catching and game-calling but couldn't hit a lick. Of course this year is different. "Not hitting a lick" seems to be the team modus operandi.
Treatment of oblique injuries includes not telling jokes around the injured player, cause it only hurts when...
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.